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Family of fallen January 6 officer explains snubbing McConnell and McCarthy: ‘This is an integrity issue’

<i>Alex Brandon/AP</i><br/>Gladys Sicknick
Alex Brandon/AP
Gladys Sicknick

By Chandelis Duster, CNN

The family of fallen US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick said Wednesday that snubbing GOP leaders during a congressional gold medal ceremony was not for partisan reasons, but an “integrity issue.”

“We were talking about saying something and then we said, ‘No, I think the best way is to just ignore them.’ And we had no idea it was going to blow up like this. We just — we really didn’t. And I’m glad it did because I think it made them think about what they do,” Gladys Sicknick, Brian’s mother, said on “CNN This Morning.”

“Just sitting in the senators’ offices and looking at the pictures of their families behind them and thinking, ‘You know, what do they do when they go home? What do they say to their children and their grandchildren when they go home? You know, what kind of country is this going to be? Do they really want them to live in a country of their making?'” Gladys Sicknick said.

Craig Sicknick, one of Brian’s brothers, said snubbing the lawmakers was not hard to do.

“I really do not hold respect for people who have no integrity. Which is what — this is not a partisan issue, this is an integrity issue. They took an oath to defend and uphold the Constitution. And when somebody challenges it, like Trump, they do nothing,” Craig Sicknick said. “Their silence is deafening. Or worse they keep perpetrating the same policies and lies that caused the insurrection to happen.”

On Tuesday, Brian Sicknick and other law enforcement with the US Capitol Police and the DC Metropolitan Police Department were honored with the Congressional Gold Medal — the highest honor Congress can bestow — for defending the US Capitol during the January 6 insurrection. Sicknick suffered strokes and died of natural causes one day after the insurrection and suffered strokes. When accepting the gold medal on his behalf, Sicknick’s family refused to shake hands with either Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell or House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Gladys Sicknick previously told CNN she didn’t shake their hands because, “They’re just two-faced.”

“I’m just tired of them standing there and saying how wonderful the Capitol Police is and then they turn around and … go down to Mar-a-Lago and kiss his ring and come back and stand here and sit with — it just, it just hurts,” she said, referring to former President Donald Trump.

McConnell in the past has criticized Trump and condemned him for actions during the January 6 insurrection, while McCarthy has visited the former president at his Mar-a-Lago estate several times.

The Senate minority leader was asked about the snub and told reporters after the ceremony on Tuesday, “I would respond by saying today we gave the gold medal to the heroes of January 6. We admire and respect them. They laid their lives on the line and that’s why we gave a gold medal today to the heroes of January 6.”

Asked if she had a message for McConnell and McCarthy, Gladys Sicknick told CNN on Wednesday, “I just don’t know how they can stand there and talk to the press, talk to the cameras and say what they do knowing what they’ve done in the past.”

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CNN’s Daniella Diaz and Kristin Wilson contributed to this report.

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